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Best Beginner Hikes in Scottsdale, AZ

One of the most awe-inspiring natural sights in Arizona, the Sonoran is a must-see-up-close destination.

With its stunning rivers and lakes and boulder-strewn mountain peaks, it's an explorer's paradise. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve has 30,580 acres of hiking, biking, climbing, and horseback riding trails.

There are several beginner hikes that you can do here. Read on for our list of the best beginner hikes in Scottsdale, AZ.

Gateway Loop Trail

Gateway Loop Trail Scottsdale, AZ
Gateway Loop Trail

Without a doubt, one of the best trails in Scottsdale, AZ is the Gateway Loop Trail. With an elevation of only 655 feet, this leisurely loop through the desert is one of the best easy trails for new hikers.

This loop is barrier-free making it a good choice for children and people in wheelchairs.

Bajada Nature Trail Loop

Bajada Nature Tail Loop
Bajada Nature Trail Loop

Another excellent accessible trail is the Bajada 1/2-mile loop. This one is ideal for people with mobility issues as well as for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers. It is one of the easiest trails in Scottsdale.

Throughout the trail, you will find information that provides interesting details about the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Preserve as well as gorgeous vistas of the McDowell Mountain.

If you want an introduction to the Sonoran, you can't go wrong with this easy hike. Take your partner on this hike with you and improve the quality of your relationship.

Jane Rau Interpretive Trail

Jane Rau Interpretive Trail Scottsdale, AZ
Jane Rau Interpretive Trail

Jane Rau was an early advocate for the creation of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. She is also a founding member of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

If you walk this trail on Friday mornings, you might just run into Jane and her dog Pipi.

This trail is a half-mile loop. Along the route, you'll find signs full of information about the plants, animals and human history of the preserve.

Tom's Thumb, Feldspar, Mesquite Canyon Loop

Mesquite Canyon Trail Scottsdale, AZ
Mesquite Canyon Trail

This easy 1.1-mile loop is an easy hike that rewards you with sweeping views of the Mesquite Canyon. Along the trail, you will also see abundant wildflowers.

This trail is good for all skill levels and is most enjoyable from fall to end of spring.

Kovach Family Nature Trail

Kovach Family Nature Trail Scottsdale, AZ
Kovach Family Nature Trail

The Kovach trail is a wonderful family-friendly hike. It offers a truly educational experience.

Signs along the route explore topics such as jumping cactus, ancient families, and the power of water.

This trail is fully accessible and good for all skill levels.

Lost Dog Trail

Lost Dog Trail Scottsdale, AZ
Lost Dog Trail

This trail is a 4.2-mile hike that is out-and-back. It consists of a gradual incline offering views of the desert and hills. You'll see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and Camelback and Pinnacle Peak along this trail.

Be sure to pack water as there is little shade on this hike.  

Note that this trail is considered moderate. Be sure to save it for after you've given a few of the other easy hikes a go first.

Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Scottsdale, AZ
Scenic Trail, McDowell Mountain Regional Park

As the name suggests, the Scenic Trail near the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation offers a large variety of scenery without much elevation.

You will have the chance to enjoy the views of the Verde River and Superstition Mountains as you hike. If you do this walk in the spring, you'll also see plenty of wildflowers.

You can do the 4.4-mile loop or experience the full trail just short of 7 miles. You will have to pay an entrance fee of $7 to access this trail. Yet, the price of admission is worth it.

Safety Tips for Beginner Hikers

Hiking is a wonderful recreational activity that can quickly become a beloved pastime.

Yet, as a new hiker, it is important to be aware of the rules and etiquette before you hit the trails.

Be Considerate

One of the golden rules of hiking is to be considerate of other trail users. Follow directional signs at all times.

If you are walking, yield to horses. Cyclists must yield to horse riders and hikers.

Also, be considerate of people who will enjoy the trail after you. Never destroy, deface or remove plants, rocks or other artifacts from any trail.

You can take pictures and leave footprints but nothing else. Be sure to take any trash with you and leave the trail as you found it.  

Stay on the Trail

Whenever you do any hike, it's a good idea to have your own copy of the trail map. You can use a physical copy or an app such as AllTrails to keep you on course.

Always stay on designated trails. This will help you avoid dangers such as unstable terrain, snakes, and prickly cacti.

By staying on the trail you preserve the eco-systems in the area. Plus, if there is an emergency, first responders will be able to find you as soon as possible.

Be Prepared

The most important thing to bring on your hikes in Scottsdale is water. Bring more water than you think you will need. Don't forget to pack water for pets too!

The general rule is at least one quart per person for short hikes.

Also, make sure to check the weather. Avoid hiking in temperatures above 90º degrees Fahrenheit.

Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and long-sleeves to protect you against the elements. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen is also smart.

Always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.

Enjoy the Best Hikes in Scottsdale, AZ

Thanks for reading! We hope this guide to the best hikes in Scottsdale, AZ has made you eager to hit the trails.

Hiking is great exercise and is also good for your emotional and mental wellness!

If you want to be in the best shape possible so you can enjoy the trails, we can help.  At Fix Body, we offer personal training injury rehab and more.

Contact us today to discuss your needs.

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